Where next gentle soul?

I’ve been listening to Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Byrds songs of the 60s for the first time in a while. I was a child in the 60s and a teenager in the 70s. The music of the late 60s and early 70s had a huge effect on me. I was probably too young to appreciate the Summer of Love in 1967, but the sentiments of the time continued into my formative years. Bob Dylan had a label on his guitar which said something like “This machine defeats fascists”. We really believed folk music had overcome dreary conformity and obedience, and that Rock n Roll would soon liberate everyone. When America’s war in Vietnam ended, I imagined the end of all war and a time coming soon when no nation would see the need for an army. I imagined that everyone would live in peace, that everyone would have enough to eat and somewhere to live, that no one need be scared of their neighbours or their government. I know I wasn’t the only one.

The “counter reformation” was a lot stronger than I expected. The forces of dreary conformity reasserted themselves. By the time Thatcher & Reagan came to power, I’d all but forgotten these values and got swept up in the greed of the 80s. Music became, for the most part, disposable fluff. I actually stopped listening to popular music radio in the late 80s as I realised I was listening to hours of dross in the hope of hearing something with a bit of passion. No one wrote songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” or “Chimes of Freedom” any longer, not even Bob Dylan.

I believe our values come from two sources: some we learn from family, school and peers. These we would change if we chose to. I believe we also have core values we are born with and these we can repress or ignore, but cannot change. The music of the 60s still speaks to what I believe to be my core values. Perhaps I sound hopelessly idealistic or foolishly optimistic. I still believe it isn’t too late for peace, that humans could share the Earth’s gifts fairly, that everyone could have enough to eat and somewhere to live. I know I’m still not the only one, but these values are rarely expressed and seem less mainstream than they did 50 years ago. The music of the 60s speaks more loudly to these values than ever and I’m loving hearing it again.

This was originally posted on Google+ in April. I can’t make my mind up where to post stuff.

Life’s Vision

Life has a vision, a longing for us all. One huge vision for every sentient being. The vision is too big for one person to hold and so it is divided into many parts. Each part is carried by millions of us. The Life in each of us longs for us to know our part of the vision and to hold it in our hearts. When enough people come together holding their part of the longing, Life’s vision for us will be realised.

You will know when you have found your part of the vision when you try to hold it in your heart and know it is absent from the world. When you know of its absence, you will fear the grief and despair will overwhelm you.

How then are we to hold this vision? How can we fully know this longing and not be overcome with despair? Can we somehow hold the longing and release our attachment to the outcome? Is this possible? Is there some other way?

How do we find our part of the vision? Try thinking of big concepts that are precious to you. Do you think world peace a good idea? In my head, I think peace is a good thing. What happens when I hold peace in my heart and know there is violence between nations, between communities and within families? I can live with this knowing, so I know I like the idea of peace, am sad at its absence but I can bear it. My part of the vision is not peace. What of freedom? I love the idea of freedom. I can hold my longing for freedom for myself and everyone else and know it is not so. I can rage against the injustices that limit or take freedom. But I can live with its absence, and so freedom is not my part of the vision. I love the idea of everyone having enough to eat. If I hold this in my heart and know that almost one billion humans are hungry, I fear the despair will crush me. I believe there is more than enough food to feed everyone and that if enough people wanted us all to eat, it would happen. And so I call my piece of the vision Abundance.

What does the Life within you long for above all else? What longing do you dare not hold in your heart for fear of being overcome by your grief at its absence? Can you find a way to hold this longing and survive?

What will the World look like when the vision is realised? Hold your part of the vision in your heart. Long for it. Wait.


This was originally intended to be a short story exploring something that’s been on my mind for several months. It turned into something else.

According to the World Food Programme, 842 million people do not have enough to eat. See www.wfp.org/hunger/stats for statistics.

Free Range Human

I’ve been working through Marianne Cantwell’s 21 Day Free Range Human course. It’s been hard work and something of an emotional roller coaster. After all those years of school and soul destroying work, I’ve found it difficult to know what I really want, what I could do with my life if I had complete freedom to choose. Well, perhaps we all do have complete freedom to choose. I, for one, have forgotten how to use that freedom. I’m working on reclaiming it.

New site coming

I recently moved my hosting to Vidahost. As my Concrete 5 site hadn’t been updated in ages, I decided not to bring it across but to start a new WordPress site instead.